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Showing posts from July, 2003

Telirati Newsletter #4

In the following, the fouth of my Telirati newsletters, I rake speech technology and IP telephony people over the coals for their lack of visualization of how these technologies would actually be used by customers. That was in 1997. The situation today is scarcely better: Speech recognition is, as predicted, better than ever. It is, however, just as distant from being a viable tool for interacting with a computer, or even with limited computing devices like handhelds or smartphones. The reason it has not progressed is as it ever was: lack of a gestalt for a voice user interface that is comparable to the desktop metaphor.

Even IP telephony is nearly as badly off: Cisco sells a decent IP phone, as does 3Com. And after that, well... I'd have to Google it up. I have no idea who else sells IP phones. One would have hoped by now VTech or Siemens would sell a cordless phone that plugs into Ethernet, and sells with a software PBX. Still science fiction.

No doubt this pattern of an inabili…

Telirati Newsletter #3

In my third newsletter I had I grown to take a skeptical position as the core of the piece, providing the reader with a gauge for measuring the viability of a technology that has long held promise, and still does. Again, however, we see that hype of a 1997 vintage is still being poured today from new bottles.

As with my previous retrospective, it's still hard to say what to buy and for what reason, in CPE or in infrastructure. The vitality of VoIP all comes from alternative applications like voice chat and the implementations of push-to-talk in non-iDEN mobile networks (which is an intriguing example of how an application like voice chat that was deemed too low-quality to warrant notice by telecom people comes back around to influence a significant telecom technology).


Newsletter #3: IP telephony is here when…

IP telephony is coming, no question. But the real question is "When is it close enough to my products that I better take it into account in my next product generation?&…

Telirati Newsletter #2

So here comes the second Telirati newsletter, and it is further evidence that skepticism seldom goes far enough. In this case, I predicted the decline of conventional telephony CPE, and its replacement with telephony servers. However deep that pessimism was, and the decline of that industry is as deep as I could have imagined, the full measure of pessimism would have also encompassed the possibility that no replacement would emerge.

What do we have today? Lucent and Ericsson shed their dowdy CPE businesses on the way to bubble-economy doom. Nortel's CPE hobbles along, and none of the big iron CPE-makers have made a dent with VoIP systems that don't change end-user costs significantly. The answer to "Who will replace legacy PBX-makers?" appears to be "Nobody."

I don't even know what I would buy if I were shopping for a PBX today. Cisco's VoIP CPE? It's mature enough, but no bargain. If cost matters, I suppose a quality used system would be the fi…

Telirati Newsletter #1

Over the next few weeks I will be posting my old Telirati newsletters. This is a potentially embarrassing exercise in digging up old predictions, but since the Internet never forgets anyway, it's best I conduct the inquisition myself.

So here goes... This is the first of the Telirati newsletters. It dates from 1997, and talks about unified messaging. Fortunately for my prognostication cred, it took a skeptical view of proprietary email as a basis for unified messaging. Skepticism, however, was not carried far enough, and even the Web-based unified messaging I predicted did not come to pass.

What does that say about my current pursuits? It says, at the very least, that I should pay attention to the skeptics and to my own sense of the odds.

Here is what I said back then:


Newsletter #1: Where to now?

Microsoft revolutionized PC software with Windows95. It brought 32-bit power to all PC software. Microsoft also brought comprehensive standards to messaging, networking, and telephony. T…